Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. Early anniversaries connect with traditional gifts–years one through five are, respectively, the paper, cotton, leather, fruit or flowers, and wood anniversaries. Every-year traditional gifts end with the 15th, or crystal, anniversary, showing up on the fives–2oth = china, 25th = silver, 30th = pearl.* Married on 24 May 1980 we celebrated our 32nd anniversary, which we celebrated by crawling through traffic on I-95 north and a spontaneous side trip to the Beacon Grille in Woburn, a town northwest of Boston best known as the locus of the toxic tort litigation against W.R. Grace that was the subject of the book and movie A Civil Action.
We left home for the drive to Maine about 4:20 and were mired in I-95 traffic within a few miles. Our plan was to shop for dinner when we exited the highway in Gray, Maine and eat as the sun set over the lake. Our door-to-door travel time is typically between 2 3/4 and 3 hours. After 55 minutes yesterday we’d covered about 17 miles, with the worst traffic ahead. We’ve driven this route for years, and for years when we noted the Beacon Grille’s pleasing and prominent sign plastered to the side of a suburban office park we said “we should eat there sometime.” But driving to Maine the restaurant is too close to the beginning of the trip and returning it’s too close to home, so we keep driving.
Until yesterday. We could spend another hour crawling to the I-95/Route 128 split, where traffic usually thins, or spend an hour at Beacon Grille and reach the split in 15 minutes. We exited I-95, wormed our way to the office park, parked in front of the restaurant, grabbed seats at the bar, ordered burgers and fries (not on the dinner menu but they made them anyway), and relaxed. We celebrated our 30th anniversary eating asparagus risotto and mushroom ravioli at Ristorante La Loggetta in Cortona, Italy overlooking the piazza at twilight. Although not as picturesque our dinner at Beacon Grille provided another of the fun experiences that keeps a marriage going for 32 years.** (And the burgers were quite good.)
*Judy would dissolve with laughter at the implication we actually observed these traditional gift themes.